Summary

Recommended for investors, including beginners, who focus on the Canadian and US markets

Qtrade is a Canadian stockbroker founded in 2000. It is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC).

Qtrade is considered safe because it has a long track record, offers high-level investor protection and is overseen by a top-tier regulator.

Overall Rating
4.3
Fees
3.8
Account opening
4.4
Deposit and withdrawal
3.0
Trading platform
2.8
Markets and products
2.7
Research
2.8
Customer service
3.1
Education
4.0

Qtrade pros and cons

Qtrade's strengths include low trading fees for many asset classes including stocks, ETFs, bonds and mutual funds. Opening an account is easy, with several account types at your disposal. Qtrade also offers high-quality educational tools.

On the other hand, Qtrade's products cover only the Canadian and US markets. Both their mobile and web applications are in need of a fresh look and feel. Meanwhile, the lack of credit/debit card or electronic wallet integration limits deposit and withdrawal options.

Pros Cons
Low trading fees Only Canadian and US markets covered
Easy account opening Outdated mobile and web platform
Solid educational tools Credit/debit cards, e-wallets not accepted
Qtrade main features and highlights
🗺️ Country of regulation Canada
💰 Trading fees class Low
💰 Inactivity fee charged Yes
💰 Withdrawal fee amount $0
💰 Minimum deposit $0
🕖 Time to open an account 1-3 days
💳 Deposit with bank card Not available
👛 Depositing with electronic wallet Not available
💱 Number of base currencies supported 2
🎮 Demo account provided Yes
🛍️ Products offered Stock, ETF, Fund, Bond, Options

Author of this review

Oskar Golebiowski

Author of this review

Oskar's goal is to bring transparency to investors in the Canadian stock brokerage market. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and over 3 years of business experience, Oskar has tested many different investing platforms in the past. His aim is to provide unbiased and honest reviews of the best tools available to Canadian investors.

Oskar Golebiowski

Canadian broker expert

Oskar's goal is to bring transparency to investors in the Canadian stock brokerage market. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and over 3 years of business experience, Oskar has tested many different investing platforms in the past. His aim is to provide unbiased and honest reviews of the best tools available to Canadian investors.

Everything you find on BrokerChooser is based on reliable data and unbiased information. We combine our 10+ years finance experience with readers feedback. Read more about our methodology

Qtrade review
Fees

3.8
To find out more about its trading and non-trading fees, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade charges low fees for stocks, ETFs, bonds and mutual funds, but options fees and margin rates are less impressive, and there is also a strict inactivity fee.
Pros Cons
Low stock and ETF fees Inactivity fee
No mutual fund fees Average options fees and margin rates
Qtrade fees snapshot
Assets Fee level Fee terms
US stock Low CAD 8.75 per trade, or CAD 6.95 if you make 150+ trades/ quarter or have CAD 500k+ account balance
EURUSD - Not available
Mutual fund Low CAD 0 per trade
Inactivity fee Low Charged as account fee, if you fail to make a minimum number of trades or deposits during a quarter

We ranked Qtrade's fee levels as low, average or high based on how they compare to those of all reviewed brokers.

To get things rolling, let's go over some lingo related to broker fees. What you need to keep an eye on are trading fees, and non-trading fees.

Below you will find the most relevant fees of Qtrade for each asset class. For example, in the case of stock investing commissions are the most important fees.

We also compared Qtrade's fees with those of two similar brokers we selected, Questrade and RBC Direct Investing. This selection is based on objective factors such as products offered, client profile, fee structure, etc. See a more detailed rundown of Qtrade alternatives.

To have a clear overview of Qtrade, let's start with the trading fees.

Qtrade trading fees

Qtrade offers low stock, ETF, bond and mutual fund fees, but options fees are high. You can get a discount on stock and options fees if you trade more and/or have a higher account balance.

The fee structure is transparent and easy to understand.

Stock fees and ETF fees

Qtrade has generally low stock and ETF commissions, close to what its immediate competitors charge.

Stock and ETF commission on a $2,000 trade
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
US stock $6.6 $5.0 $7.5

If you prefer stock trading on margin, you should check Qtrade's margin rates.

Trading on margin basically means that you borrow money from your broker, and can purchase more shares or other assets than you could with just the available cash in your account. You have to pay interest on this borrowed money – the interest rate is called the margin rate. It can account for a significant portion of your trading costs.

Qtrade margin rates are average.

Qtrade annual margin rates for stocks
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
USD margin rate 4.5% 7.0% 4.5%

Qtrade charges a base rate and markup for trading on margin. At the time of our review, the base rate was 2.45% for loans in CAD and 3.25% for loans in USD. The markup depends on your debit balance, the currency of your debit balance, your quarterly trade volume, and your account balance.

Qtrade markup for margin trading
  Debit balance in CAD Debit balance in USD
Fewer than 150 trades per quarter and lower than CAD 500k account balance
Debit balance less than CAD 100k Base rate + 1.55% Base rate + 1.25%
Debit balance more than CAD 100k Base rate + 1.50% Base rate + 1.20%
More than 150 trades per quarter or higher than CAD 500k account balance
Debit balance less than CAD 10k Base rate + 1.30% Base rate + 1.25%
Debit balance between CAD 10k and CAD 100k Base rate + 1.05% Base rate + 1.00%
Debit balance between more than CAD 100k Base rate + 0.30% Base rate + 0.50%

Fund fees

Qtrade charges no commission on mutual fund transactions.

Commission on a $2,000 fund purchase
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Mutual fund $0.0 $10.0 $0.0

Bond fees

Qtrade has generally low bond fees. Among its nearest competitors, Questrade offers free bond trading, but bond fees at RBC Direct Investing, though similar, are not as transparent as at Qtrade.

Commission on a $10,000 government bond trade
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
US Treasury bond $18.7 $0.0 $18.8

Qtrade offers primarily Canadian government, provincial, municipal and corporate bonds. It charges CAD 1 per CAD 1,000 of face value, with a minimum of CAD 24.99 and a maximum of CAD 250.

Options fees

Qtrade options fees are average.

Stock index options commission of 10 contracts
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
US stock index options $15.9 $20.0 $16.8

It charges a flat fee of CAD 8.75 plus a variable fee of CAD 1.25 per contract. The flat fee drops to CAD 6.95 if you make more than 150 trades per quarter (any trades, not just options) or have an account balance of at least CAD 500,000.

Non-trading fees

Qtrade has mixed non-trading fees. Deposits and withdrawals are free of charge, but there's an account fee that functions similarly to an inactivity fee. Qtrade will charge this CAD 25 quarterly account fee unless you satisfy one of the following criteria:

  • you have more than CAD 25,000 account balance
  • you made at least two stock or options trades in the last quarter
  • you made at least eight stock or options trades in the last 12 months
  • you have automatic monthly deposits of at least CAD 100
  • your age is between 18 and 30 years and you add at least CAD 50 to your account each month
Qtrade non-trading fees
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Account fee Yes No Yes
Inactivity fee Yes No No
Deposit fee $0 $0 $0
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

There are several additional fees that might apply to you; here are a few examples:

  • CAD 100 is charged if you close your account within the first year after your account is opened
  • Transferring out assets (rather than cash) costs CAD 150
  • If you set USD as the base currency for registered accounts (LIF, RIF), there is a $15 quarterly fee

Qtrade review
Account opening

4.4
To experience the account opening process, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade has an easy and fully digital account opening process, with no minimum deposit and plenty of account types, but the account verification process is relatively slow.
Pros Cons
Fully digital Account verification a bit slow
No minimum deposit Only available to clients with valid Canadian SIN
Many account types

Can you open an account?

What is the minimum deposit at Qtrade?

There is no minimum deposit at Qtrade.

Account types

You can choose among different account types based on ownership:

  • Individual account: owned by an individual
  • Joint account: owned by two or more individuals
  • Non-personal accounts (corporate, organization, trust): owned by a legal entity

Within individual accounts, Qtrade offers several account types:

Qtrade individual account types
Account type Description
Cash account Trading account that doesn't offer margin* and options trading
Margin account Trading account that offers margin* and options trading
Tax-Free Savings Account (TFSA) Tax-free account that offers easy access to your funds
Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) Tax-free account for retirement (involves restrictions on access to your funds)
Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF) Tax-free account for clients who must close their RRSP because of turning 71
Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP) Tax-advantaged account for tuition savings

*When you trade with money borrowed from the broker 

How to open your account

Qtrade's account opening process is fully digital and the entire process takes 2-3 business days. Our account was verified within 3 business days. You must have a valid Canadian Social Insurance Number (SIN) to be able to open an account at Qtrade.

To open an account, you must complete the following steps:

  1. Add your email address and set a password
  2. Select your account type and account base currency
  3. Add personal information, like date of birth or residency
  4. Answer a few questions relating to your financial knowledge
  5. Choose your funding options
  6. Sign and submit. Wait for an email response whether you've been approved or whether you must supply more information
Qtrade review - Account opening

Qtrade review
Deposit and withdrawal

3.0
To find out more about the deposit and withdrawal process, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade offers user-friendly and free deposit and withdrawal. Unfortunately, your options for both are quite limited, as you can only use bank transfer.
Pros Cons
Free withdrawal Credit/Debit card not available
No deposit fee Electronic wallets not accepted
User-friendly

Account base currencies

Like its closest competitors, Qtrade offers 2 base currencies: USD and CAD.

Base currencies at Qtrade vs similar brokers
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Number of base currencies 2 2 2

Why does this matter? For two reasons. If you fund your trading account in the same currency as your bank account or you trade assets in the same currency as your trading account base currency, you don't have to pay a conversion fee.

A convenient way to save on currency conversion fees is by opening a multi-currency bank account at a digital bank. These usually offer bank accounts in several currencies with great currency exchange rates, as well as free or cheap international bank transfers. Opening an account only takes a few minutes on your phone.

Compare digital banks

Deposit fees and options

Qtrade charges no deposit fees. You have the following options to deposit funds:

  • Electronic transfer from a bank account
  • Using the "bill payee" function through online banking
Qtrade deposit options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No

A bank transfer can take several business days, while payment with a credit/debit card would be instant.

You can only deposit money from accounts that are in your name.

Qtrade review - Deposit and withdrawal - Deposit

Qtrade withdrawal fees and options

Qtrade doesn't charge a withdrawal fee. You can use the same withdrawal options as for deposit.

Qtrade withdrawal fees and options
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bank transfer Yes Yes Yes
Credit/debit card No No No
Electronic wallets No Yes No
Withdrawal fee $0 $0 $0

How long does it take to withdraw money from Qtrade? We tested the bank transfer withdrawal and it took 2 business days.

How do you withdraw money from Qtrade? You can withdraw money from Qtrade by following these steps:

  1. Log into your account
  2. Move your cursor over 'My Accounts' to open the drop-down menu
  3. Click 'Transfer Funds'
  4. Choose your method of transfer
  5. Choose the account to withdraw from, then set the amount and currency
  6. Choose which account to transfer to
  7. Initiate withdrawal

Compare to other brokers

Qtrade review
Web trading platform

3.0
To try the web trading platform yourself, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade has a basic web trading platform, with solid search, alert and order functions and portfolio reports. However, there's no two-step login, and the design feels outdated.
Pros Cons
Clear fee report No two-step (safer) login
Good search function Limited customizability (for charts, workspace)
Good variety of order types Poor design
Qtrade platforms to choose from
Trading platform Score Available
Web 3.0 stars Yes
Mobile 2.5 stars Yes
Desktop - No

Qtrade offers an in-house developed web trading platform. It is available in both English and French.

Look and feel

The Qtrade web trading platform is OK. It's easy to use, but the design feels outdated, and we found some bugs during testing. For example, the order panel didn't always work, and at one point we couldn't check the account summary.

It's not possible to customize the platform.

Qtrade review - Web trading platform

Login and security

Qtrade provides only a one-step login process. Two-step authentication is considered more secure. As a plus, you can set up security questions.

Search functions

The platform's search functions are good. Search results appear as you type, giving relevant answers to your query.

Qtrade review - Web trading platform - Search

Placing orders

Qtrade offers an impressive number of order types:

  • Market 
  • Limit 
  • Stop limit 
  • Stop market 
  • Trailing stop market
  • Trailing stop limit

If you are not familiar with the basic order types, read this overview.

There is also one order time limit you can use, Good 'til Time.

Qtrade review - Web trading platform - Order panel

Alerts and notifications

You can set price and news alerts through the web trading platform.

However, you can only set email notifications; we missed push notifications for mobile. Also, the process is a bit inconvenient as you have to use the asset's ticker when searching for an asset to set up alerts for. It would be much easier if you could search using the asset's name, just like on the main search panel.

Portfolio and fee reports

Qtrade offers clear fee and portfolio reports. You can find your reports under 'My Accounts' > 'Service center' > 'View eDocuments'.

Qtrade review
Mobile trading platform

2.5
To try the mobile trading platform yourself, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade's mobile app is very similar to the web platform in design and functions. However, there are no price alerts or two-step login, and we experienced glitches during testing.
Pros Cons
Good search function No two-step (safer) login
Good variety of order types No price alerts
Order confirmation No Touch/Face ID login

Similarly to the web trading platform, Qtrade has an in-house developed mobile trading platform. It is available on both iOS and Android. We tested the iOS version.

Most of the functionalities are the same as on the web trading platform. The mobile app offers the same order types, has the same search functions, and likewise offers only one-step login.

The app's design is very basic, and we ran into a few glitches and crashes when tested it. Unlike on the web trading platform, you can't set alerts on the mobile trading app.

Qtrade review - Mobile trading platform

Qtrade review
Desktop trading platform

Qtrade does not have a desktop trading platform.

Qtrade review
Markets and products

2.7
To dig even deeper in markets and products, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade covers only the Canadian and US markets. You can trade basic asset classes like stocks, ETFs or mutual funds, but forex, futures, CFDs and cryptos are not available.
  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Stock Yes Yes Yes
ETF Yes Yes Yes
Forex No Yes No
Fund Yes Yes Yes
Bond Yes Yes Yes
Options Yes Yes Yes
Futures No No No
CFD No Yes No
Crypto No No No

Qtrade has a great mutual fund offer, while its stock, ETF and bond selections largely match those of its Canadian competitors.

Stock and ETF

Qtrade gives access to North American stock exchanges only. This puts the company at a disadvantage compared with more globally-focused brokers operating in Canada, but Qtrade could still be a perfect fit for clients who focus exclusively on the Canadian and US markets.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Stock markets (#) 6 8 5
ETFs (#) 3,100 1,800 3,100

You can trade on the following stock exchanges: NYSE, NASDAQ, S&P 500, TSX, TSXV and the Aequitas NEO Exchange.

Fund

Qtrade offers a sizable selection of mutual funds.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Fund providers (#) 140 145 83

Bond

Qtrade offers bonds in various categories, such as municipal bonds, corporate bonds and provincial bonds.

The number of bonds is average, but it is an ideal selection if you're into Canadian fixed income securities.

  Qtrade Questrade RBC Direct Investing
Bonds (#) 1,400 1,500 1,000

Options

Qtrade gives access to options markets as well, but the company does not provide clear information as to which ones.

Qtrade review
Research

2.8
To check the available research tools and assets, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade offers analyst recommendations, fundamental data and screeners, but its charting and other analytic tools are very basic, and the design of the research section is outdated.
Pros Cons
Trading ideas Limited interactive charting
Data on asset fundamentals No/limited set of analytic tools

You can find Qtrade's research tools on the web trading platform under the 'Investment Tools' and 'Research' sections. Similarly to the rest of the web trading platform, the research tools have an outdated design. They are available in both English and French.

Trading ideas

Qtrade offers trading ideas via Morningstar, a third-party research tool provider. You can find them under 'Analyst Recommendations' in the 'Research' section. In these notes, you can read whether you should buy, hold or sell a specific asset. What we missed was information about the analysts providing these recommendations.

Qtrade review - Research - Recommendations

Fundamental data

Qtrade offers plenty of fundamental data. From financial statements to performance or price history, you'll find a lot of information.

Qtrade review - Research - Fundamental data

Charting

Qtrade has basic charting tools. You can use only a few technical indicators and chart editor tools. If you're into technical analysis, Qtrade's research tools will most likely fall short of your expectations.

Qtrade review - Research - Charting

Newsfeed

Qtrade's newsfeed is of average quality. It is clear and easily digestible but lacks visual elements like charts or pictures. It is provided by third parties such as Barrons.com, InvestorsObserver, etc.

Other research tools you may enjoy

You can use screeners for stocks, ETFs and mutual funds. From price data to basic company information, you can use a wide range of filters.

There is also a value analyzer. Based on an asset's fundamentals, it offers a value analysis and rate-of-return estimation.

A technical research tool is also provided, whereby an algorithm recognizes patterns and support/resistance levels using chart data.

Qtrade review - Research - Technical research

Compare research pros and cons

Qtrade review
Customer service

3.1
To find customer service contact information details, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade provides excellent telephone and email support, but they're not available 24/7, and there is no live chat.
Pros Cons
Phone support No live chat
Relevant answers No 24/7 support

You can contact Qtrade via:

  • telephone
  • email

Telephone support was of average speed. We got accurate and helpful answers, but we had to wait more than 5 minutes on average until someone was connected.

Qtrade's email support works well. Through email, we received relevant answers within 1 day.

Among negatives, we missed live chat and 24/7 availability. You must wait for business hours in North America to contact Qtrade's support team.

Qtrade review - Customer Service

Qtrade review
Education

4.0
To check the available education material and assets, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade offers many traditional education tools such as tutorials, strategic videos or a demo account. However, some of these are hard to find or not updated on a regular basis.
Pros Cons
Demo account Not updated regularly
Trading platform tutorial
Educational videos

At Qtrade you can learn in the following ways:

  • Demo account
  • Platform tutorial videos
  • General educational videos
  • Quality educational articles

By far the most useful educational tool Qtrade offers is its practice account. Using a practice account, clients can simulate investing and trading before depositing actual funds. However, these accounts are not openly advertised.

We also liked that some educational articles or videos are provided by prominent third parties like Morningstar or the Financial Times, but it would be nice to have some original content too.

Qtrade review - Education

Qtrade review
Safety

To find out more about safety and regulation, visit Qtrade

or
Compare to its best reviewed alternative: Questrade
Qtrade is regulated by the top-tier IIROC, offers strong investor protection and has a solid corporate background. On the negative side, it is not listed on a stock exchange.
Pros Cons
Majority of clients belong to a top-tier financial authority No negative balance protection
High level of investor protection Does not hold a banking license
Solid ownership background Not listed on stock exchange

Is Qtrade regulated?

Yes, it is regulated by the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada (IIROC) and is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund (CIPF).

Is Qtrade safe?

To be certain, we highly advise to check two facts:

  • how you are protected if something goes wrong
  • and what the background of the broker is.

How you are protected

This is important for you because the investor protection amount and the regulator may differ from entity to entity. With Qtrade, this is not an issue because all customers are serviced by Credential Qtrade Securities Inc.

Credential Qtrade Securities Inc. is a member of the CIPF. Therefore, Qtrade clients are eligible for the CAD 1 million coverage offered by the CIPF.

It is also worth noting that Qtrade does not provide negative balance protection.

Background

Qtrade was established in 2000 in Canada. The longer track record a broker has, the more proof we have that it has successfully survived previous financial crises.

Qtrade is now the subsidiary of Aviso Wealth Inc, which offers many types of financial services from online brokerage to insurance.

It's also a great plus that Aviso Wealth Inc. is backed by the Desjardins Group, which is one of the biggest financial groups in the world.

Enjoying top-tier regulation, offering a high investor protection amount and having a solid parent company are all great signs for Qtrade's safety.

Find your safe broker

Qtrade review
Bottom line

Qtrade offers competitive stock, ETF, bond, and mutual fund fees. The account opening process is easy and fully digital. Qtrade's education resources are outstanding, with many relevant and useful tools.

Qtrade does, however, have its downsides. The biggest one is its product portfolio, which covers only the US and Canadian markets. Other areas for improvement include missing credit/debit card and e-wallet integration for money transfers, and some bugs in its user interfaces.

Since Qtrade has great trading fees, easy account opening and top-quality educational tools, feel free to give it a try today.

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